We all know the proverbial phrase “You are what you eat,” but when it comes to intermittent fasting, this re-phrasing is a perfect 10: “You are when you eat.”
Let’s digest the term “intermittent fasting” (IF) in the most elementary way. Fasting means “to eat nothing” while “intermittent” means “irregular, sporadic, random.” Simply put, it’s a weight-loss regimen wherein you do not eat on your fasting window and eat to your heart’s delight (with much decency) on your feeding window. Among the IF methods, the most iconic is the 16:8 protocol wherein you divide your day into a 16-hour fasting streak and an 8-hour feed binge. By far, this method is the easiest and most sustainable.
Within 16 hours, your tummy’s best buddy comes in the form of simple liquids like water, strictly black coffee (no cream please), green tea, or broth. After which, you can have your fave food and meals, the-way-you-want-it, within the 8-hour window. Yes, intermittent fasting won’t alter what food you take. It alters when you take the food. Call it a paradigm shift. A repositioning of eating habits and patterns. A dare to discipline the body to an unconventional eating schedule. A lifestyle change! All for a healthy “you” this side of heaven!
So what’s in it for you? For a simple weight loss pattern much easier than dieting, its benefits are mouth-watering.
• Saves time, money and energy – Because you only need to eat twice a day, you spare yourself from preparing or buying six meals a day. Less dishes to wash, too. More time to rest or more energy for other things. Imagine a glass of water or a cup of coffee over breakfast. No preps to busy yourself into. In a jiffy, you’re off to work!
• Reduces stress – Preparing meals is not just time-consuming. It is, ugh, stressful. The less meals you prepare, the less your stressors.
• Disciplines not just the body but the mind – IF trains your mind and body to be disciplined by following a conditioning pattern. Be intentional. Don’t go out malling and tempt yourself when you’re at it. For IF to work, you have to level it up. Not just as a hobby but as a habit. Not just as a habit, but as a lifestyle.
• Builds confidence – Applying IF consistently, without fail and hopefully without cheat, provides a sense of fulfillment. More than an emotional high, it boosts your self-esteem because you accomplished something. A savvier and sexier you.
• Increases longevity – A Harvard research concluded that fasting can augment life expectancy, minimize aging and make better cells’ activity by controlling our mitochondrial system to maintain its youthful condition.
• Restrains your calories – When you fast, your goal is caloric restraint. Though not all calories are created equal, restricting your caloric intake by taking less meals within the day and over the week means you are on your way to steady weight loss and a lean body mass.
• Reduces risks of cancer – Potentially, a recent study implied that the negative effects of chemotherapy may be lessened by fasting before undergoing the procedure. Another finding revealed that fasting before chemotherapy would lead to fewer morbidity.
• Lowers blood sugar – Research showed that blood sugar levels can go down by 3-6%, reduces insulin resistance, and insulin levels by 20-31%. A helpful protection for type 2 diabetes.
• Improves brain condition – Studies proved that fasting can counter the onset of neuro-related diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and dementia as elaborated by Mark Mattson on TEDx.